Gender and opinions about mental illness as predictors of attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help

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Abstract:

Help-seeking attitudes have been an important part of research into the kinds of college students who do and do not seek psychotherapy. The current study investigated the relationship between students' opinions about mental illness and their attitudes toward seeking professional help. By also using gender as a predictor of help-seeking attitudes, the researchers examined the effects of opinions about mental illness on help-seeking attitudes above and beyond well-known gender effects. This is important because opinions about mental illness are the kind of attitudinal variables that should be more modifiable than gender identity. The results indicate that females had more positive attitudes toward seeking help than males, and that people's opinions about mental illness, especially more benevolent, less authoritarian, less socially restrictive and higher mental hygiene ideology perspectives, accounted for a significant percentage of positive help-seeking attitudes beyond the percentage accounted for by gender.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03069889900760101

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, 1885 Neil Avenue, Colombus, Ohio, 43210, USA 2: Department of Psychology, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, Alabama, 36124-4023, USA

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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